Asian American 160 Lecture Notes

This is my collection of notes for UW-Madison Asian American Studies 160
A.K.A History 160: Movement and Dislocation of Asian Americans
Notes for this course are no longer categorized by lecture number
And they are not guatanteed to be comprehensive, so…
Please don’t stop taking your own notes.

Reading 1 Lecture Notes

Immigration is only part of U.S. History
Immigration Policies of founding (Differed by State)
  • No Quakers
  • No Black
    • Only Slaves
  • No Catholics
  • No Criminals
  • No Poor People
Laws tell you how people were thinking
Federal laws tell you how people were thinking
First laws passed by government were immigration laws
Alien Sedation Act
  • Easier for aliens to be arrested
  • Took longer to become citizens
  • Didn’t want French Revolution ideas coming to America

Framework 1

Founding Principles versus Immigration Policies
  • Creates contradiction of American democracy
  • People in the U.S. have different experiences
    • Different Laws affect Different People
    • Democracy affects people differently
  • Creates quandary (dilemma): Do we create policies/laws based on principles or character of immigrants

Framework 2

Why do Immigrants come to the U.S.?
  • Balanced View
    • Needs of Immigrants
      • Seeking a Better Life
    • Needs and responsibilities of U.S.
      • Increased Labor Force
      • Recruited Labor Force
        • Latinos and Farms
        • Mining industry first started recruiting immigrants

Framework 3

Bottom-Up History
  • History told from point of view of the “ordinary”

Chinese Diaspora (19th Century)

Chinese were first critical mass to immigrate
Prior to WWII Chinese immigration stemmed from port areas in Southern China
  • 5 regions in 2 southeastern China: Guangdong and Fujian
  • Macau
1760 Chinese government restricted foreign commerce to Guangdong whereas Fujian operated by Chinese merchants
  • Those from Fujian made up earliest Chinese settlements in Malaysia, Philippines, and South East Asia
Massive outflow prompted Chinese government to prohibit immigration, 1656-1729
  • Death upon return
  • Only slowed down outmigration
Besides merchants, early immigrants were miners in Thailand, Malaysia, and Borneo
First Opium War (Anglo-Chinese Wars) symbolic of Western encroachment on China, 1839-1842
By 1842, Chinese in every continent
  • 2 ½ million overseas Chinese
Mass immigration to Americas enabled by Western ships in Kwangtung ports
Immigration of Chinese laborers to U.S. coincided with Chinese immigration to Peru, Australia, British Columbia, and Alaska
Immigration also coincided with mass immigration of Europeans to U.S.

Territorial Expansion of U.S.

Wars and treaty negotiations with Native Americans
War of 1812 with Great Britain and the acquisition of Pacific Northwest
Mexican-American War, 1846-1848
  • Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado
  • California was colonial providence of Spanish empire from 1769 - 1821
  • 1821 Mexican Independence from Spain - California part of Mexico for the next 25 years
  • 1842 native born Californians of California’s asserted provincial autonomy
  • 1846 U.S. declared war on Mexico
  • 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and transfer of power to U.S.

Manifest Destiny: An Expansion Ideology

U.S. will go from one ocean to the other
U.S. territorial expansion westward
  • God ordained right
  • Superiority of Anglo Saxons over Mexicans and Native Americans
  • Spreading of U.S. democracy and capitalism\

Chinese Immigration to California

Pre-Conquest California
  • Early 1840s inhabited by seminomadic Native American tribes, totaling around 50,000
  • Also present were 7-10,000 Calfornios or descendants of Spanish Mexican pioneers who settled in California since 1769
  • Prior to 1840s few American traders and settlers; often intermarried with Calfornios and conformed to Spanish-Mexican ways
  • After 1840s, just before Mexican-American War, American immigrants made little effort to intermarry or assimilate; focused on taking over territory
Post-Conquest California: Discovery of Gold
  • Johann Augustus Sutter, a Swiss, settled in California in 1839 and became a Mexican citizen
  • Held a large land grant in Sacramento Valley
  • Sutter’s Fort center of holdings
    • Part living quarters and supply shop for cattle ranch
    • Ran on forced Indian labor
  • In 1840s, Americans who came to California through Oregon settled near Sutter, away from Californios along coast
    • Many worked for Sutter
Discovery of Gold
  • January 1848, James Marshall found flakes of gold at Sutter’s Mill
  • Tried to keep gold secret
  • By autumn 1848, news spread all over U.S. and world
  • 80% of 49ers Americans from every state
  • 13% from Mexico (Sonora) and west coast of Latin American (Chile and Peru)
  • 7% from Europe (France, Germany, Ireland) and Asia (China)
immigrants to California
  • Majority of immigrants were men
  • Most “sojourners” wanting to get rich quick and return home
  • By 1852, Chinese at about 25,000, largest non-white group; composition and population similar to other immigrant groups

Establishing Rights of “Citizens”

Violence against non-white minorities
  • 1849 rampage on “little Chile”
  • Killed a woman; several men beaten
Banned Chinese and Mexicans from key digging sites
  • Many worked in more undesirable sites
  • Many Chinese, driven out of mining, opened restaurants, laundries, and dry good stores
Native Americans continue to be driven off land by armed miners
  • 1849-1879, about 4,500 Native Americans died in violent skirmishes
  • Even more died of diseases
1850 Foreign Miners Tax (First Law about foreigners) IMPORTANT
  • “Foreign” miners required to pay $20/month for license to work gold field
  • Targeted Mexican Miners
    • Some on prosperous mines able to afford this
    • Mexican and Chinese restricted to less prosperous mine had hard time
  • About 10,000 Mexicans left California
  • Spanish speaking population fell to 15% in 1850 and 4% in 1870
    • In 1870, lost political representation in California
1852 Foreign Miners Tax
  • “Foreign” miners required to pay $3/month for license to work gold field
  • 1853 - $4/month
  • 1855 - $6/month
  • Explicitly targeted Chinese
  • Became major revenue source for state and county government
  • Between 1850-70, about $58 million were taken from Chinese through this tax and other such taxes

Making California a “Free State”

  • California admitted to union as a free state
  • Miners were not abolitionist
  • Miners feared competition and saw slave owning miners as threat
  • 1858, California attempted to pass law banning immigration of free blacks to state

Women and the West

“Westward Waiting”
  • Managers of household
    • Status increased
  • Waiting for husbands to come home
    • In China and other states in the U.S.
    • Apart for years or life
  • Moral to travel alone
  • Doing God’s bidding
  • Occupy an “ambivalent” position in U.S.
    • Not ok or socially acceptable to be a prostitute
    • Ok or socially acceptable for men to go to prostitutes
  • Prostitution and Migrancy
    • Women who are poor find jobs in prostitution
  • Prostitutes already have the stigma of being immoral
    • What do they have to lose

Chinese Women and the West

Chinese wives of merchants
  • Merchants were always allowed in the U.S.
    • Trade is profitable for U.S.
    • Merchants facilitated trade
These women led bound lives
  • Prostitutes
Chinese Prostitution
  • Prostitution and Chinese migrant workers
    • Gender norms in China
    • Social/Sexual needs
      • Men were not staying permanently
      • Did not need to settle down or start a family
    • Business venture for both Chinese men and Chinese women
      • Women sent money home to families
  • Who were these women and why would they come?
    • From poor families
    • Kidnapped/Sold
    • Sex Workers, Brothel Owners, Cheap Laborers, Wives (Some Chinese men bought prostitutes and married them)

Gender, Sex, and Chinese Immigration

Gross gender imbalance; San Francisco in 1850, 4018 men and 7 women
Belief that all Chinese women were prostitutes as dictated by 1870 census
  • Category for Labor and Prostitutes on census
Stigma of “Chinese immigration”
  • All Chinese were bad

Racializing and Gendering of Asians

Feminized and asexual Asian males
  • Women’s work
    • Laundries and restaurants
  • Single “bachelors”
    • Many had families in Asia
    • They did not have typical sexual relations
  • Hypersexualization of Asian females
    • Prostitutes: Women are sexually available
    • Submissive: Natural ability to service needs of men
  • Still lasts today

Building the Transcontinental Railroad

1850 California admitted into the Union
  • Established political linkage but geographically isolated
1858 Stagecoaches for mail; 1860 California Pony Express
Theodore Judah, engineer, devised plan for railroad
Received financial backing from U.S. and the big 4
  • Charles Cocker
  • Leland Stanford
  • Mark Hopkins
  • Collis P. Huntington
Construction began on January 8, 1863
Heavily recruited Chinese
  • Single, male workers were unattached
  • Could easily move
Completed on May 10, 1869
  • The Central Pacific and the Union Pacific met at Promontory Point, Utah with the Golden Spike

Chinese Workers as “Cheap Labor” or “Coolie” Labor

Interaction between capitalist demands and ideas about race, gender, sexuality, and nationality
  • Foreigners: non-white immigrants
  • Race: non-white
  • Need for migratory labor force of male workers and prostitutes
  • Used social stigma of women’s work and prostitution to devalue labor of Chinese male and female workers
  • Does work that no American would do?
    • Use poverty to justify exploitation
    • If wages increased for that work, more Americans would want that job
Big Picture
  • Asian immigrants were economically central to the U.S. but they were socially marginalized

Asian Immigrants to Hawaii

Hawaii – Historical Background

  • Islands first settled by Polynesians or Native Hawaiians
  • Modern conception of Hawaii began January 18, 1778
    • British Captain James Cook arrived on shores
    • Sought to expand British empire
    • Previously Sandwich Islands
  • 1810 King Kamehameha I united islands, Kingdom of Hawaii under “guidance” of Great Britain
    • Under threat of armed intervention

U.S. Encroachment on Hawaiian Islands

Missionary Activities
  • 1820 first major group of missionaries of New England Congregationalist missionary group arrived

The Great Mahele

  • March 18, 1848 King Kamehameha III passed the Great Mahele, radically transformed land ownership and distribution
    • Under threat of armed intervention from the U.S.
  • Replaced Land Tenure System, where king owned land, private ownership of land
  • Land divided among King, Chiefs, and Commoners
    • Commoners were elected officials in Hawaii Society
  • Land can be purchased
    • Shifted landownership to Westerners

Trading Rights

1875 Reciprocity Treaty
  • Allowed for duty free importation of Hawaii grown sugar to the U.S.
  • U.S. gained Pu’u Loa or Pearl Harbor
  • Increase U.S. investment in sugar plantations
    • Increase in importation of Asian immigrant labor
  • Changed landscape of Hawaii

Settler Colonialism

  • Type of colonial takeover
    • Land acquired through “immigration” governed by colonializing country
  • Strategy: depopulate” and “deauthorize” previous inhabitants and/or natives
    • Hawaii became part of U.S. through Asian immigration

U.S. Acquisition of Hawaii

  • 1898: U.S. annexation of Hawaii
  • 1900: Became territory of U.S.
  • 1959: Became 50th State of U.S.

Establishing European and American Rule in Hawaii

Constitutional Rights

1887 Bayonet Constitution
  • Limited power of monarchy
  • Removed voting rights of Asians completely
  • Established income and property requirements to voting rights
  • Over 75% Native population did not qualify to vote
  • Well-to-do Europeans, Americans, and Hawaiians held greater control over policy making in Hawaii

Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association

  • Founded in 1895, Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association was unincorporated, voluntary organization of sugar plantation owners
  • Promote mutual benefit of members and development of the sugar industry
    • Every sugar plantation paid their workers the same wages
  • Recruitment of workers
    • Set up offices in Philippines to recruit and provide free passage to Hawaii
    • Contract Workers
      • Had to work with plantations for a set number of years

Asian Settler Colonialism: Japanese Immigration to Hawaii

  • 1868 and 1869, 1st documented case of Japanese immigration to “America”
  • American, Dutch, and German seaman smuggled several hundreds out of Japan to work in Hawaii, Guam, and California
  • 149 Japanese went to Hawaii
  • Treated so badly, 1869 Japanese government brought 40 home, forbade immigration
    • Did not want Japanese to be seen as inferior
  • In 1885 sanctioned first shipload of Japanese contract laborers to Hawaii
  • Managed through American consul general of Hawaii
    • Desperately needed immigrant workers for the many sugar plantations
  • Over 29,000 Japanese men and women came to work on sugar plantations on 3 year contract
    • Worked 10-12 hours/day for 26 days/month
  • In 1894 immigration turned over to private companies
  • 1850 - 1920 about 300,000 Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos immigrated to Hawaii
  • Saw more families than California
  • Depletion of Native population
    • Due to diseases and poverty
      • Mainly poverty
    • 1853 - 97%
    • 1920 - 16.3%
  • Increase in Japanese population
    • 1853 - 0%
    • 1920 - 42.7%
    • Most dominant group in Hawaii
  • Small Caucasian population
    • 1853 - 2%
    • 1920 - 7.7%

Seasons of Rebellion

  • Benefits of our jobs today come from immigrant worker strikes
    • Shorter work day
    • More wages
    • Maternal leave

Organized Labor

  • Blood Unionism
    • Union made of one ethnic group
    • Did not work because corporations hire different ethnic worker to replace them
  • Helped to break up strikes
    • Fought for benefits for their own ethnic group
  • Interethnic Coalitions and Unions
    • Unions composed of multiple ethnicities
    • Made harder for corporations to break them up
    • Stronger when together

Divide and Rule

  • Employment of as many nationality as possible on each plantation to offset power of any one nationality
  • ”Keep variety of laborers, that is different nationalities and thus prevent any concerted action in case of strikes, for there are few, if any, cases of Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese entering into a strike as a unit”
    • Quote from HSPA charter
  • Asian immigrants had prejudices against other Asian immigrants
    • Japanese vs. Koreans, Japanese vs. Filipinos, Japanese vs. Chinese, etc.

Social Justice Framework

  • What does equality mean?
  • Do we want equality?
    • Or do we want to be better than others?
  • What undercuts social justice?

Chinese Exclusion

  • Illegal immigration began

Economic Context for Exclusion

Crisis of 1870
  • 1874 Stock Market Crash in San Francisco; inflated speculation way above market value of stocks
  • Bank of California closed August 1875; Terrible “70s” began
  • 1876 drought hit farmers hard and more headed into San Francisco
  • Labor market tightened in 1869, completing of transcontinental railroad
  • By decade’s end over 30% unemployed in California
  • Wages for most trades cut, up to 15%
  • Immigration 19th century U.S.
    • Period of unrestricted immigration
      • 1815-1915: Over 30 million Europeans to U.S.
      • 1849-1882: About 300,000 Chinese to U.S.
        • 0.2% of nation’s population
      • 1870: Chinese 8.6% of California population; 42% European immigrants
Why is Economic Reason important to understand campaign of Chinese Exclusion?
  • Scapegoat
  • Amplified Racism and Xenophobia
  • Differences between each other is greater
Anti-Chinese Violence: Expression of racism and economic frustration
  • People (white) were not punished
  • Working class people were the ones who were extremely anti-Chinese
Rising Influence of Labor Unions
  • Rapid economic growth
  • Everyone was considered cheap labor
  • Workers tried to fight back against harsh conditions

Workingmen’s Party of California

  • 35 clubs in California
  • Began with critique of big corporations and government support of corporate interests
  • Denis Kearny: “The Chinese must go! They are stealing our jobs!”
  • Chinese Exclusion as platform for consolidation of labor unions and growth of membership
  • Powerful force in labor unions were Irish
    • Bottom of racial hierarchy of European immigrants
    • Irish wanted to find equality, so they showed that they are not like Chinese but like other white labor
    • Like blood unionism

Nativism and the Formation of “Whiteness”

  • Exclusion developed white concept

Whiteness and making of legitimate citizenry

  • Nativism: Know Nothing Party
  • In 1870, 42% of white population on West Coast were foreign born
    • Irish, British, German, Spanish, French, Italian
  • Transformation of immigrants to “native”
    • Legal: Naturalization Rights
    • Racial: Whiteness, “Anglo-Saxon”
  • Idea that “white” Americans were “real” or most legitimate Americans unified nation, both workers and industrialists to support Chinese exclusion as most viable solution to economic woes of nation

Racial Capitalism

  • Process of deriving social and economic value from racial identity
  • Race and class becomes interwoven

Chinese Immigration and National Politics

  • 1850s California – Democrat controlled
  • In 1860s, Democrats lost control due to proslavery stance; Republicans with pro-union and wage labor platform dominated
  • Democrats try to shed proslavery image found another issue, the Chinese and antiservile labor
  • 1875 – Republicans were soundly defeated
  • By decade’s end, Republicans came out against Chinese
  • Chinese exclusion became bi-partisan supported measure

Exclusion of Chinese

  • California Act of 1870
    • First major state law against Chinese immigration
    • Did not allow Chinese to come in
  • Page Act of 1875
    • Federal Legislation
    • Sought to exclude two groups
      • Chinese contract workers
      • Chinese women
  • All Chinese women were assumed to be prostitutes
    • Ineffective in enforcing exclusion of Chinese contract workers
    • Effective in stopping immigration of Chinese women
  • California Constitution of 1879
    • Article XIX – Chinese
      • Repealed in 1952
      • Said that Chinese were not allowed to be hired
      • Chinese were not allowed to live with other races
        • They were segregated
  • Chinese Exclusion Act 1882
    • Federal Law
    • Only act in U.S. legislative history to name specific race and class for purposes of exclusion
    • Repealed in 1943
    • Renewed every 10 years

Demographics of Chinese during Exclusion Movement

  • After first 33 years of open immigration some 300,000 Chinese came to U.S.
    • 2/3 returned to China
  • In 1880, Chinese totaled 105,465
    • .21% of total population in U.S.
  • Chinese women composed of 7.2% in 1970 and 3.6% in 1890 of total Chinese population

Factors for Immigration

  • U.S. labor needs post Chinese exclusion
  • Impoverished farmers, southwestern Japan
  • Permission of Japanese government in 1885
    • 1894 regulation end
  • Primogeniture – Inheritance system in Japan
    • Eldest son inherited family’s land
    • Younger siblings (sons) got no cut and had to find jobs
      • Many immigrants were younger sons

Japanese Immigration

  • Between 1885-1924
    • 200,000 Japanese immigrated to Hawaii
    • 180,000 to U.S. mainland
  • While mostly young men, Japanese women immigrated as well
    • 1905, 22% in Hawaii and 7% in mainland were women

The Path to Asian Exclusion

1903 strike in Oxnard, California
  • 1899, Japanese labor contractors, supplying farmers with workers and negotiated wages
    • 9 Japanese independent labor contractors
    • Going farm to farm and negotiating wage and working conditions
  • 1902, some Oxnard businessman organized new labor contracting company: Western Agricultural Contracting Company
    • Sought to undercut influence of Japanese labor contractors
    • Lowered piecework rate for thinning beets from 3.75 per acre
  • 500 Japanese and 200 Mexican workers responded, formed Japanese-Mexican Labor Association (JMLA) in 1902
    • First ever inter-ethnic alliance between two minority groups in California
    • Led 1200 workers on strike
      • March 1902
      • 90% of labor force
    • Victorious, maintained union rate of $5
  • Got attention of Los Angeles County Council of Labor
    • Organize framework? Admit racial minorities into rank?
    • Yes to both
      • Opposed Asian immigration but wanted to extend union membership to those in U.S.
    • Beginnings of class solidarity
  • American Federation of Labor (AFL)
    • Mexican secretary of JMLA appealed to be accepted into AFL
    • 1903, Samuel Gompers denied membership to all Chinese and Japanese workers to AFL
    • Year later AFL called for expansion of immigration exclusion to include Japanese immigration

Path to Japanese Exclusion

  • Along with AFL, workers in San Francisco began organizing to exclude Japanese workers
  • Like Chinese, Japanese labeled as unassimilable
  • Growth of Nativism
    • Asiatic Exclusion League
    • Native Sons of Golden West
      • Prevent miscegenation or interracial marriage
  • They did not want to corrupt the blood of white immigrants
  • October 1906, San Francisco Board of Education directed principals to send all Chinese, Japanese, and Korean children to “Oriental School”
  • Japanese government protested
    • Russo-Japanese War – Ended in 1905
      • Japan won
      • Japan was now seen as major power
    • Roosevelt tried to avoid conflict with Japan
      • Did not want to lose Japan trading rights

1907 Gentleman’s Agreement

  • Restrict immigration of Japanese laborers; Allowed parents, wives, and children of laborers in U.S. permission to immigrate
    • Allowed picture brides
  • 1921 Ladies Agreement
    • Informal agreement between U.S. and Japan
    • Barred immigration of picture brides

Implications of Exclusion

  • Economic Reason
    • There was no true economic reason
    • Pure racial prejudice
  • Growing racial formation of Asians as “unassimilable” perpetual foreigners
    • Believed to be unable to assimilate
  • Aliens ineligible citizenship
    • 1790 Naturalization Act limited naturalization rights to “free white persons”
    • Native Americans
      • Allowed to vote after Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
    • Blacks
      • Allowed to vote after 14th Amendment
    • Asian Americans
      • Allowed to vote after 1952

Towards Asian Exclusion

  • Alien Land Law 1913
    • Declared unlawful ownership of “real property” by “aliens ineligible for citizenship”
    • 1920, aliens ineligible for citizenship not allowed to lease or acquire land through native-born minors
    • 1923, aliens ineligible for citizenship cannot “acquire, possess, enjoy, use, cultivate, occupy, and transfer real property”
    • Will be ruled unconstitutional

Era of Exclusion

U.S. During Turn of 20th Century

  • Growth of Nativism
    • Differentiating real citizens from other people
  • Growth of Eugenics
    • Only wanted perfect race coming into U.S.
    • Breeding most desirable race and humans
  • Use of immigration laws to determine social desirability of race and nationality

Immigration Act of 1917

  • Barred criminals, feeble minded, alcoholics, beggars, persons mentally and physically defective, polygamists
  • Barred anarchists
    • Discrimination based on political beliefs
  • First federal law for immigration
  • Created Literacy Tests
    • Targeted Jews from Germany and Catholics from Ireland
  • Created Asiatic Barred Zone or Asia Pacific Triangle
    • Growth of Asian Exclusion
    • Middle East was included
    • Formation of term “Asian American”
    • Nobody was accepted from these areas

Immigration Act of 1921

  • First numerical restrictions of Europeans
  • Used 1910 census, established 3% quotas
    • Reduced immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe
    • Southeaster European countries
      • 45% of quotas
    • Northwestern European countries
      • 55% of quotas

1924 Immigration Law

  • Other names
    • Johnson-Reed Act
    • National Origins Act
    • Asian Exclusion Act
  • Nativist considered 1921 quotas not good enough
  • Used 1890 census and 2% quotas
    • Mostly people for Northwestern Europe immigrated
  • National origins quota, limit Southeastern European immigration
  • Established national origins quota
  • Racial restrictions
    • Barred immigration of aliens ineligible for citizenship
    • Barred immigration of descendants of slave immigrations
      • Immigration from Africa
    • Barred immigration of descendants of American aborigines
  • American worldview
    • Divided world by race
    • Divided world by nationality
  • Distinguished European countries from other countries

Chinese Immigration During Exclusion Era

  • Rise of illegal immigration through derivative citizenship
    • Asian American citizens can sponsor minor child and bring them to America

“Paper Sons” and “Paper Daughters”

  • April 18-19, 1906: San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed city’s vital records, including immigration records
  • Many Chinese immigrants convinced immigration officials that they were native-born American citizens or merchants
    • Merchants had more rights than native-born citizens
  • As citizens, could travel to China and return and any children he might father in China, admissible for immigration to U.S.
    • Many people brought over other children
  • Chinese wives of workers remained inadmissible
  • Wives of merchants were allowed into U.S

“Paper Sons” and “Paper Daughters” Continued

  • Many brought back own offspring
  • Many created and sold “slots” allowing for future immigration
  • Slots created when American citizens of Chinese descent reported a fictitious birth for every year that he remained in China
  • “Slots” = Paper sons and daughters
  • Citizenship meant being able to go back to China and able to come back
  • Only men could pass citizenship to children

Immigration of Paper Sons and Daughters

  • Between 1900-1906 Chinese immigration averaged from 12-145
  • After 1906 earthquake
    • 219 in 1910
    • 356 in 1915
    • 573 in 1920
    • 1050 in 1922
    • 1893 in 1924
  • From 1906-1924: About 10,000 Chinese entered
    • ¼ were women
    • 1/20 were women in 19th century

Why Engage in Tedious Process of Slot Immigration

  • Family unification
    • Many men were lonely and craved family
  • Resist against unjust and inhumane immigration policy
  • Chance for better life
  • Profitable business venture

Angel Island: 1910-1940

  • Creation of national immigration facility in San Francisco direct result of anti-Chinese legislation
  • Opened in 1910: about 100,000 persons, mostly Asians, spent time on island
  • Believed vast majority of 60,000 Chinese between 1910-1940 passed through Angel Island with 10,000 deported
  • Europeans passed through, evidence by records of segregated mess halls
  • About 6,000 were Japanese women
    • Mostly picture brides coming under 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement until 1924
  • Small group of Koreans and Indians

Interrogation and Examination on Island

  • Chinese singled out for examination and long detention
    • All Chinese subjected for long delays
  • Notorious for horrible living and working conditions
  • Longest confinement, 2 years

Different practices between white and Chinese

  • Testimony of parents were not enough
    • Chinese singled out for exclusion
    • Practices of slot immigration

Crib Sheets and Examination Questions

  • Many came prepared with crib sheets, some over 100 pages
  • Most destroyed right before embankment, some kept hidden in small capsules and in food prepared by Chinese cooks employed on Angel Island
  • Crib Sheets: List of questions asked

Medical Examination

  • Blood test to verify paternity
  • Bone test to determine age of child

Purpose of Immigration Screening

  • Chinese Exclusion
  • Verify identity claims; guard against fraudulent claims
  • Verify “stereotypes” about groups; to justify need for immigration restrictions and harsh screening procedures

Impact on Immigration Debate

  • Shifts immigration debate away from democratic principles and to distinguishing “good” from “bad” immigrant
  • Encourages us to make generalizations about group based on nationality and race
  • What does attention on character of immigrants silence?
    • Are our laws just?
    • How do we benefit from immigration?
    • Will immigration restriction solve economic woes?

U.S. and the Philippines

Spanish Occupation of the Philippines

  • 1521 Spanish contact through exploration of Ferdinand Magellan
  • 1542 – 1899 Philippines part of Spanish Empire
  • Legacy of Catholicism, social and educational hierarchy, and colonial economic system
    • Established connection between Latinos and Filipinos

Growth of U.S. Capitalism and Search for New Markets

  • Social and culture forces paving way for imperialist expansion
  • Political rhetoric
    • Secretary of State Blaine “We want the $400,000,000 annually which today go to England, France, Germany, and other countries

1898 Spanish-American War

  • April 25 – August 12 1898
    • Very short war
  • Acquired countries in Caribbean and Asia-Pacific
    • Cuba
    • Philippines
    • Puerto Rico and Guam
      • Still territories today
  • 1897, U.S. began discussing merits of acquiring Philippines as way station for markets in East Asia
  • May 4, 1898, 5,000 U.S. Troops sent to Manila Bay to dispatch Spanish troops
  • Spain relinquished all claims to Philippines

Guerilla War in Philippines

  • February 1889, Emilio Aguinaldo led attack on-began movement for liberation of Philippines in U.S.
  • 1902 fighting slowed down, 4,300 American lives lost; 1 out of every 5 Filipinos died in battle or of starvation and disease
  • Continued until 1935


  • Extraction of people, goods, and services from colonized country for benefit of colonizer’s country
  • Elite groups of colonized countries (Filipino elites) often work with colonizers to maintain control
  • Creates unequal relationship between colonizers and colonized

1904 St. Louis World’s Fair

  • Held in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Celebrated centennial of Louisiana Purchase of 1803
  • Created Filipino village
    • Showed off Philippines colony

Significance of Colonization

  • Established U.S. on par with other European nations
  • Helped to affirm “superiority” of U.S. over other civilizations in fulfillment

Benevolent Assimilation

  • U.S. policy of colonial governance over Philippines
  • Significance
    • U.S. says it is for Filipino benefit -U.S. actually wants to extract goods from Philippines

South Asian Immigration to U.S

World Systems Framework

  • South Asian immigration develops U.S. history within transnational framework
  • Connects U.S. history with colonial expansionist efforts of other countries

Colonial India

  • 1600-1947
  • Period where “India” designated area was under jurisdiction of European colonial powers
  • Dutch, Portugal, British
  • Rise of British India
    • 16th century England and Netherlands challenged dominance of Portugal in Asian Spice Trade
    • 1600, England chartered East India Company
    • 1720, British eclipsed Dutch in textile trade – replaced spice trade as most lucrative trade as most lucrative trade
      • Economic dominance signaled rise of British colonialism in India

British Raj

  • 1858 – 1947, India under rule of Great Britain
    • Encompassed almost all of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
  • Recruited workers from India
    • Indian laborers migrated British West Indies, East Africa

South Asian Immigration to Canada and U.S.

  • Canada early 1900s
    • Heavy recruitment of workers from India by British to work on Canadian railroads
      • Recruited mostly Sikhs from Punjabi region
    • Notable influx of Punjabi Sikhs caused Canadians, government to pass laws in 1908 to limit South Asian immigration to California
  • Punjabi Sikhs began to immigrate to U.S. due to restrictions in California
  • Discrimination of Punjabi Sikhs in U.S. Pacific Northwest caused mass influx into California
  • South Asian Americans joined Japanese and Latinos and worked in agricultural industry in California
    • Interracial marriages between Punjabi immigrant men with Mexican women common
  • Bengali Muslim peddlers in New Orleans
    • Later settled in Detroit, New York, Baltimore

British Colonialism and Social Status of South Asians

  • For many South Asians, saw discrimination in U.S. and California tied to British colonialism
  • Connected fight for Indian independence to fight for racial equality in U.S. and Canada
    • Transnational political activism

Ghadar Movement

  • 1912 – 1913, Indian revolutionaries Har Dayal and Sohan Singh Bhakna founded Pacific Coast Hindustan Association in San Francisco, California
  • Members consisted largely of UC Berkeley student
  • Financial support from Indians in diaspora
  • Group later renamed Ghadar Party
    • Fought for Indian independence for Great Britain
    • Founded on Communist and Nationalist ideologies
    • Foundation of Indian independence movement
    • What is significant about Ghadar Party being founded in U.S.?
      • Unsafe to form in India, and it would be clamped down right away
      • Discrimination faced in America made them try to change circumstances
  • Hindustan Ghadar
    • Weekly publication of Ghadar Party
    • Helped to disseminate ideas for Indian independence
    • Deemed seditious, banned by British Indian government

South Asian Exclusion in U.S.

  • What led to passage of 1917 immigration act and development of Asiatic Barred Zone for purpose of excluding South Asian immigration to the U.S.?
    • Fewer than 50,000 South Asians in U.S. prior to 1965
    • U.S. became nervous of political activities of South Asians
  • British Influence
    • Members of Ghadar Party under consent surveillance
    • Writers for Hindustan Ghadar memorized subscription list to protect supporters
    • Stigmatized as “radicals” inciting revolution
  • Racial divide in U.S.
  • Organized labor and non-white immigrants

Implications for Asian American Racial Formation

  • Connections and disidentifications: Yellow or Brown?
  • Race and religion
    • Punjabi Sikhs
    • Hindus
    • Bengali Muslims

Korean Immigration to the U.S.

  • Korean nationalists in Hawaii and California
  • GI wives
    • Biggest group
    • Wives of U.S. soldiers from the Korean War
  • Adoptees
    • One of largest group
    • War created many orphans

Korea Under Japanese Rule

Japanese Imperial Period

  • 1905 Korea became protectorate of Japan
    • Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), Russia recognized Japan entitled to pursue interest in Korea
    • U.S. Secretary of War William Taft (27th President) signed treaty with Japan
      • U.S. agreed not to interfere; Japan agreed not to interfere in Philippines
      • Taft-Katsura Agreement in 1905
    • With Japanese troops in Korea, Korean state “agreed” to hard over foreign affairs, ceded control over Korea’s trade ports
  • 1910 – 1945: Japanese Occupation of Korea
    • August 22, 1910: Emperor of Korea conceded sovereignty of Korea to Japan
    • Instigated Korean Independence Movement
  • March First Movement of 1919
    • Over 2 million participated in nationwide protest against Japanese military occupation in Korea
    • Resulted in bloody massacre of Koreans by Japanese forces
    • Led to formation of Korean Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai, April 1919
    • Resulted in dispersal of Korean nationalists freedom fighters to Manchuria (China) and U.S. (Hawaii, California)

Korean Nationalist in Hawaii and California

  • Japanese colonization key impetus for Korean immigration to U.S.
    • Worked as domestics, on sugar plantations in Hawaii, and other low wage labor
  • Organized and fundraised for liberation of Korea Methodist Church in the U.S.
    • Provided Korean men in U.S. formal leadership roles
    • Provided Korean women space to exert political activism
  • Korean volunteer armies were formed within U.S.

WWII – Pacific War

  • When U.S. declared war on Japan, the Korean Provisional Government, Korean Liberation Army, and Korean Volunteer Army declared war on Japan and on Nazi Germany
  • Following U.S. dropping two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan agreed to unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945
  • Ended over 36 years of Japanese colonial over Korea
  • In Korea, struggled over what “free Korea” was to look like
    • Revert back to feudal system and Korean aristocracy
    • Or creation of nation with equal distribution of land and wealth
  • Political strife in Korea compounded with the arrival of American forces
    • U.S. established American Military Government, in September 1945 in southern portions of Korean peninsula
    • Korean resistance movements backed by China in northern portions of Korean peninsula
  • Korean Americans among most ardent supporters of U.S. during WWII
  • Following establishment of American Military Government in Seoul in 1945, Koreans became split in America
    • Some supported, some did not

Cold War

After WWII

  • Global cold war ensued
    • Anticolonial struggle
      • During WWII, many colonized countries began to stage anticolonial movements
    • Rebuilding of Europe
      • U.S. was now seen as even more powerful, became superpower
    • Ideological and military conflict between U.S. and Soviet Union
      • Soviet also tried to become major global power
  • Soviet Union and U.S. competed to steer re-building of world to suit own economic and political agenda
  • U.S. promoted image of Soviet Union as ruthless totalitarian regime of global communism
  • Soviet Union promoted image of U.S. as aggressive imperial power for capitalist world power
    • American Military Government in Seoul

Capitalism vs. Communism

  • U.S. believed communism would cancel out capitalism
  • Communism does not believe in global trade
  • Capitalism benefits from global trade
  • Fundamental threat of communism was that communism upset trade between U.S. and communist countries

U.S. Cold War Policy: Truman Doctrine and Policy of Containment

  • In 1947, Truman argued that containment of communism in European key to national security and securing democratic principles
    • Contain communism, Spread U.S. democracy foundation of U.S. Cold War policy
    • Prompted aid to nations with “communist” or Soviet Union leaning
    • Economic and “indirect” support
      • Turkey and Greece

Communist Containment: Europe

  • Berlin Crisis
    • U.S. and Great Britain sought to integrate Western Germany to capitalistic system; began plans for common currency
    • Soviet Union responded by halting all traffic to West Berlin on June 24, 1948
    • U.S. began airlift, delivered nearly 2 million tons of materials to West Berliners
    • Crisis ended on May 1949 when Soviet lifted blockade
  • Significance of Berlin Crisis
    • U.S. policy of containment
    • Division of East and West Berlin
    • Detente

Cold War Turns “Hot” in Asia

  • Significance of communist takeover of China, October 1, 1949
    • Global power was shifted
    • Shift in U.S. Cold War policy: from economic aid, to supply of weaponry and military
    • Shift of U.S. foreign policy away from Europe and towards Asia

Korean War

  • End of WWII, Allies divided Korea ceded by Japan at 38th parallel
  • U.S. backed unpopular government of Syngman Rhee in southern portion of Korean peninsula and Soviet Union sponsored Kim Il Sung in northern portion
  • On June 25, 1950 forces in north attacked south, instigating U.S. to enter conflict
  • After U.S. entrance, Soviet Union officially back forces in north
  • Entrance of Chinese troops defeated General McArthur’s advances
  • Summer 1951 stalemate reached; war ended in 1953

Korean War as “U.S. Proxy War”

  • Proxy War
    • U.S. fought war to stop expansion of Soviet Union’s power and to preserve open borders
    • Conflict between two states where fighting occurs derivatively
  • U.S. fought Soviet Union through war against the northern peninsula of Korea

Significance of Korean War as “U.S. Proxy War”

  • War marked by confusion
    • Whose liberty are we protecting?
    • Why are we fighting this war?
  • Revealed competing meanings of “communism”
    • Many Koreans embrace communism to fight against U.S. imperialism and to create sovereign nation free of feudal vestiges
    • U.S. sought to stop Soviet expansionism and closing of key trade markets needed for capitalist growth
  • Are we responsible for the devastation of Korea and the displacement of its people?
    • For how long?

Legacies of Korean War

  • Immigration of GI Wives of Korean descent
    • Beginnigs of legalized interracial coupling
    • U.S. military camptowns in Korea
    • Estimated 40-50% of Koreans in U.S. can trace immigration to sponsorship of wife of American military man
  • Korean adoptees